WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S Supreme Court appears ready to overturn its landmark decisions establishing the right to an abortion, according to a draft opinion obtained and published by Politico, a decision that — if finalized — would dismantle 50 years of precedent and pave the way for states to severely curtail abortion rights in the United States.
The leak of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court is unprecedented in modern times and has already sent shockwaves through Washington and the nation.
The report immediately sent pro-choice protesters to the Supreme Court building. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the court after Politico published the report suggesting the conservative majority is preparing to fully overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing the right to an abortion.
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Barricades along the steps in front of the court building were put out just after news of the leak broke.
The court has not responded to Newsy's request for comment. It is possible the decision could change by the time the court makes a formal decision because drafts don't necessarily reflect the final will of the court.
CBS News reports the draft is in response to a case about Mississippi's law, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks and the ruling is expected by July.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito writes. "It’s reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences."
Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson notes about half of the states want to ban or severely restrict abortions, according to CBS News.
“If the draft opinion stands, it means women will live in two very different Americas.
While the Supreme Court is not commenting on the report, sources tell CBS News that Chief Justice John Roberts is likely to order an investigation that includes the FBI to determine the source of the leak.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) released a statement in reaction to the reports of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision.
"For nearly 50 years, women have been able to make their own private healthcare decisions without interference from the federal government. If reports are accurate and this draft decision stands, the removal of that fundamental right will have devastating consequences for millions of women across this country."
U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also issued a statement in response to the leaked decision.
"Leaking a draft opinion by the Supreme Court is unprecedented and reprehensible. There should be an immediate investigation into who is responsible as it is a clear attempt to intimidate the Court. With that said, if the draft opinion stands, the Court will have righted an historic injustice and returned the power to the American people and their elected officials to enact laws to protect unborn children and mothers,” Daines said.
- information from Newsy's Maritsa Georgiou and CBS News' Natalie Brand included in this report